In this paper I will bring together two seemingly opposed philosophers whose theories, once brought together, will allow for the liberation of the subaltern as represented in the text. By making use of Hans Georg Gadamer’s critical hermeneutics and Jacques Derrida’s practice of deconstruction, this paper will present the possibility of overcoming the prejudices that underlie the aesthetic consciousness.
In addition, this paper will present the issue of logocentrism as a product of hegemony and oppression, addressing the ways in which language and speech have failed the ‘Other.’ As a radical challenge to centuries of assumed metaphysical presence within language, I will argue that Jacques Derrida’s deconstruction invites the interpreter to acknowledge the textual indeterminacies within language and the failure of speech/writing to effectively encompass the totality of one’s experiences, thoughts, and ideas. Within the practice of deconstruction one is left with the responsibility of reexamining all ideological concepts and “unsewing the symbolic order in its general structure and in its modifications, in the general and determined forms of sociality.” I will further explain that deconstruction operates amongst differences and pluralities, avoiding reductions to sameness, thus providing a space for the liberation of the ‘Other.’
Furthermore, I will utilize Hans-Georg Gadamer’s most popular text, Truth and Method, to argue that the practice of hermeneutics is a method we must deploy in order to overcome canonical thought. This paper will address that his philosophy protests the traditional Western philosophy that argues for universality and posits truth claims, and instead argues for a method of intersubjective interpretation.
Finally, I will make the claim that like Derrida, Hans-Georg Gadamer explored the problems of textual interpretation throughout the twentieth century, and revealed that the task of the reader is to bring to light the oppression of Western philosophy and to critically examine the text by bringing language and symbol to the arena of discourse. As liberators against the oppression of restricted interpretation, I will make clear that both Gadamer and Derrida assume the responsibility of overcoming the ‘epistemological truncation’ so often associated with traditional logocentric thought and assuming a position of liberated language.